The attractions of a 50cc bike are obvious: you can ride one from 16 years old, you don’t need to take a riding test and they’re cheap to tax and fuel.
However, you do need motorbike insurance, but this is often fairly inexpensive for these small, cheap bikes too.
To ride a 50cc moped or scooter on the road you need:
Even if you never take your full motorbike test, you still need to have insurance, so it’s worth shopping around to find a policy that suits you.
Although insurance costs are low due to the small size of the bikes, 50cc insurance is likely to be more expensive for younger or newer bikers who haven’t got a full licence.
Older riders with more experience who’ve passed a motorbike test can expect to get extremely cheap premiums.
So if you do decide to take a full motorbike test, tell your insurer as soon as you have your full licence - you might even see your premiums reduced.
You can be fined up to £1,000 and get up to six penalty points on your licence for riding without a valid CBT certificate
So make sure you have the right credentials (and insurance!) before hitting the road
After taking your CBT not everyone goes on to sit a full motorbike test.
If you choose to continue riding on just a provisional licence, insurance for your 50cc will probably be a bit more expensive than if you take your test.
This is because someone that’s taken a full test will be viewed by insurers as a more competent rider and less of a risk than someone who’s only had a day of training.
But lessons and motorbike test can be costly too, so weigh up how you use your bike and what you’re likely to ride in the future before deciding.
A qualified and experienced motorbike instructor will be able to talk you through all the test and licencing options for you and your bike.
For many people it’s just cheaper and more practical to keep your L-plates on and continue riding on a provisional licence.
You’ll have to display L-plates, you can’t carry passengers and you can’t ride on the motorway.
But as 50cc bikes aren’t allowed on the motorway and are underpowered for riding with a pillion, as long as you’re not bothered by showing your L-plates you’ve little to lose by continuing as a learner.
It’s perfectly legal to do this, as long as you remember to retake your CBT every two years.
You can ride indefinitely on your provisional licence, as long as you have a valid CBT certificate and L-plates.
After passing your full test, you can do away with the L plates and carry passengers but only if your bike is designed for this.
For example, you must have foot pegs and a pillion seat to carry a passenger, but 50cc mopeds frequently lack these due to their small size.
As with all motorbike insurance there are three levels of cover to choose from:
Fully comp insurance is the highest level of cover. It includes everything under TPFT and cover for your vehicle if you’re responsible for an accident.
This level of cover includes third parties as well as damage to or loss of your vehicle due to fire or theft – this can be useful for small motorbikes, as they’re more vulnerable to theft than heavier bikes.
Covers damage or loss to other people’s possessions. Your own vehicle isn’t covered, so if you have an accident and it’s your fault you’ll have to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your bike.
As well as the three levels of cover, insurers offer extras that are sometimes included as standard on your policy, or more often offered for an extra fee.
Common policy extras include:
Your motorbike insurance won’t cover mechanical breakdowns due to wear and tear, or things like punctures that could leave you stranded.
Breakdown cover provides roadside assistance and recovery. Breakdown cover for motorbikes will include providers with flatbed recovery vehicle for transporting bikes.
Check whether it’s cheaper to buy a separate policy rather than bundling it with your bike insurance.
This covers the cost of legal fees related to an accident where you weren’t to blame.
It’s not compensation for a claim though - it just covers the legal expenses associated with making a claim.
If you’re involved in an accident and need to make a claim, you’ll lose some or all of your no claims bonus.
No-claims discount protection preserves it, even if you make a fault claim.
The price of your premium isn’t protected, so can still increase at your next renewal.
Personal accident cover can provide compensation for significant injuries or death due to a motorbike accident.
Injuries that are covered will be specified in the policy and levels of cover vary.
This covers your boots, gloves, helmet and protective clothing - and not just those made of leather.
It’ll cover damage, but not necessarily theft.
While you can’t change your age or where you live, there are a few ways you can reduce the cost of your insurance for your 50cc motorbike:
Passing a full motorbike test could reduce the cost of your premiums, but your no claims bonus and experience will also be considered by insurers
Don’t overestimate your annual mileage - stating more miles than you actually drive could cost you. You can’t travel that far, or that fast, on a 50cc
Mopeds are small and light, so they’re easy to steal. Invest in ground anchors, locks and alarms to deter thieves and potentially make your insurance more affordable. Your insurance might have security clauses saying you need to always use a certain type of lock too
Park somewhere secure overnight. Your insurance might be cheaper if you make use of your locked garage or shed, or bring your moped into the garden behind a locked gate
Shopping around and comparing providers helps you find the right insurance for the right price
It depends on what you use it for. 50cc motocross bikes, known as 50cc scramblers, are designed to be driven off public roads, but you can insure them for road use and your regular commute.
Just make sure your 50cc dirt bike has roadworthy lights, mirrors, tyres and equipment. If it’s been modified for road use you need to tell your insurer as this could affect the price of your premiums.